Clarity Law

Specialist Traffic Law Firm Queensland
Tuesday, 17 October 2023 19:19

Interlocks and Work Licences

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If you need to apply for a work licence will you need to install an interlock? and what happens if you need a work licence but cannot install an interlock?


What is a work licence?

In Queensland, a work licence allows you to drive for work purposes even if you’ve been charged with an offence of drink driving or drug driving. This licence may be requested if your job requires regular driving, or if it’s a necessary condition of your employment, and not having a licence risks your job, potentially leading to financial hardships.

Eligibility for a work licence is determined based on several factors:

  • You must hold a current Queensland open driver licence at the time of applying for a work licence.

  • You need to have held a Queensland open driver licence at the time of the offence.

  • At the time of the offence, you cannot have been driving for your employment or work purposes.

  • You can’t have been convicted of any drink or drug driving offence, anywhere, or failed to provide blood or breath sample in the last five years.

  • You can’t have been disqualified from holding a licence, had your licence disqualified, suspended or cancelled in Queensland in the last five years.

  • You can’t have been convicted of dangerous driving in Queensland in the last five years.

  • Your blood alcohol concentration level must have been recorded to be below 0.15%.

  • At the time of offence, you should not have been driving under a licence that required your blood alcohol concentration to be zero.

Your work licence may have certain restrictions imposed, such as the time and purpose of driving, the type of vehicle that you can drive, the carrying of passengers while driving, and the period that the work licence is issued for.

Applications for work licences should be made to the Magistrates Court that is to hear the drink or drug driving offence. This application needs to be made before a plea of guilty is made.

Learn more about work licences


What is an interlock?

An interlock device in Queensland is a device connected to a vehicle’s ignition. To start the vehicle, the driver must provide a breath sample. The vehicle only starts if no alcohol is detected. A random breath sample may be requested during a journey. The interlock records data including all breath samples (including when the vehicle doesn’t start), when the vehicle is used, and interlock service information.

The Alcohol Ignition Interlock Program applies to drivers who are convicted of high-range or mid-range drink driving offences. You need to participate in the interlock program if you are convicted of any of the following offences:

  • Drive, or attempt to put in motion or be in charge of a vehicle under the influence of alcohol

  • Drive, or attempt to put in motion or be in charge of a vehicle with a blood/breath alcohol concentration of 0.15 or more, or 0.10 or more (offences committed on or after 10 September 2021)

  • Failing to provide a blood/breath specimen for analysis

  • Dangerous driving while affected by alcohol

  • Two or more low drink driving offences within the past five years.

You need to have an interlock device installed in the vehicle you drive during your time in the interlock program. If you are required to drive multiple vehicles for work or other purposes, each vehicle must be fitted with the interlock device. 

It is an offence to drive a motor vehicle that is not fitted with an interlock where the driver is subject to an interlock condition.


How does an interlock work?

An alcohol ignition interlock device operates in the following way:

  1. Start-up Test: Before the vehicle can be started, the driver must provide a breath sample into the interlock device. The device analyses the breath sample for alcohol. If the alcohol concentration of the sample is below the pre-set limit, the vehicle can be started.

  2. Random Re-tests: After the vehicle has been started, the interlock device will randomly require additional breath samples during the journey. This is to ensure that a sober friend didn’t provide the initial breath sample and that the driver hasn’t consumed alcohol since first starting the vehicle.

  3. Data Recording: The interlock device records data such as all breath samples provided (including instances when the vehicle doesn’t start due to a failed test), when and how long the vehicle is used, and any attempts to tamper with or circumvent the device.

  4. Regular Servicing: The interlock device must be serviced regularly by an approved service provider. During these service appointments, data from the device is downloaded and any necessary calibrations or repairs are made.

  5. Violation Consequences: If a violation (such as a failed breath test or missed service appointment) is detected during a service appointment, consequences may include an extension of your interlock period.


Do I need to install an interlock on a work licence?

If your offence was low range then no you don’t need to install an interlock.

If your offence was mid-range drink driving then yes you must install an interlock before you can start driving under a work licence.


What if I can’t install an interlock under a work licence?

If it is not possible to install an interlock on each vehicle that you need to drive under a work licence then you should seriously consider not applying for a work licence.

If you are a mid range drink driver and apply for a work licence but cannot install the interlock then you will not be able to drive under the work licence.  Worse is that if you cannot get an interlock installed but applied for work licence then the court likely gave you a longer disqualification then if you had not applied for a work licence.


How do I decide whether to apply for a work licence or not?

Trying to decide whether to apply for a work licence or not, if your offence was mid range drink driving, can be hard.  You really need to look at the following:

  1. Work out what vehicles you would need to drive under a work licence.

  2. Speak to your employer about whether they would be willing to install an interlock in those vehicles (don’t forget you need to install an interlock in all vehicles you drive including the vehicle you drive to and from work even if that vehicle is owned by you).

  3. Speak to an experienced traffic lawyer to find out if you can apply for a work licence.  Also find out from your lawyer how long your disqualification would be with and without a work licence.

  4. Make a decision whether to apply for a work licence.


Can I get an interlock exemption?

There are only very limited grounds to seek an exemption from the requirements to install an interlock.  The exemptions are:

  1. Living in a Remote Location: If you reside more than 150 kilometres away from the nearest interlock installer, you may be exempt. Proof of residence, such as lease documents, mortgage certificates, or utility bills, must be provided.

  2. Living on an Island: If you live on an island not connected to the mainland by a bridge, you may be exempt. Similar to the remote location exemption, proof of residence is required.

    • Certain islands are excluded from this exemption list, including Coochiemudlo Island, Fraser Island, Karragarra Island, Lamb Island, Macleay Island, Magnetic Island, North Stradbroke Island, Orpheus Island, and Russell Island.

  3. Medical Condition Preventing Breath Sample: If you have a medical condition that prevents you from providing a breath sample, you may be exempt. Your doctor needs to complete a specific form for this exemption.

  4. Family Severe Hardship: If your family would face severe hardship without the exemption, it might be granted. This hardship must not be related to employment.

    • It's important to note that the exemption does not apply to education, financial reasons, or work-related driving.

    • Examples of severe hardship might include having only one vehicle available, a family member with a medical condition preventing a breath sample, or no other transportation options.

    • "Severe hardship" refers to a situation where a person's life is significantly negatively impacted. It's a serious or intense difficulty.

    • Evidence may include statutory declarations, ownership records of family vehicles, or letters from interlock installers.


To apply for an exemption, it can be done online or in person at a TMR location using a specific form.

Some additional points to consider:

  • Exemptions are rarely granted and apply to a limited number of cases.

  • The application must be submitted before the interlock program starts.

  • Evidence supporting the application is necessary.

  • Even if an exemption is granted, other penalties for the drink driving offense still apply, including fines, disqualification from driving, and completion of a drink driving course.


Learn more about interlock exemptions


How do I get more information or engage you to act for me? 

If you want to engage us or just need further information or advice then you can either;

  1. Use our contact form and we will contact you by email or phone at a time that suits you

  2. Call us on 1300 952 255 seven days a week, 7am to 7pm

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We are a no pressure law firm, we are happy to provide information to assist you, if you want to engage us then great, if not then you at least have more information about drink driving.

You won’t be chased or hounded to engage us.  Remember its critical you get advice before going to court, a drink driving charge no matter the reading will have an impact on you, your family and your employment or business.  


Need more information?

We have a range of articles on drink driving on our traffic law blog.  Some of the most recent have included:

Steven Brough

Steven Brough is the Founder of Clarity Law.  He is one of the most experienced traffic lawyers in Queensland having appeared in court many thousands of time throughout Queensland since 2010.  He has authored over 100 articles about every aspect of traffic law in Queensland.

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